Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Changes to ICBC premiums would see bad drivers pay more

Changes to ICBC premiums would see bad drivers pay more

Inexperienced and high-risk drivers would pay more for their vehicle insurance in British Columbia under proposed changes to modernize the province's Crown auto insurance corporation.

The provincial government announced on Thursday significant changes to ICBC's rate design that it says will make insurance rates fairer for drivers across B.C.

If approved, premiums would be calculated based on years of driving experience, number of at-fault crashes for all drivers using the vehicle, rate class (how the vehicle is used) and territory (where the driver lives), among other things.

"The changes we are proposing are the most significant updates to how ICBC's basic insurance premiums are set in more than 30 years", said ICBC's Board Chair Joy MacPhail.

"We want to modernize ICBC so that British Columbians pay according to their crash history, driving records and level of risk, and take responsibility for their driving habits". "That is not fair to those who drive safely", he said. The remaining third will see their premiums increase.

The proposed changes align with the feedback the government received from almost 35,000 British Columbians on how to make insurance fair. It is built around ensuring the vehicle rather than the driver and allows discounts to drivers despite multiple crashes. He said less-experienced drivers cause a disproportionate number of crashes and fatalities in B.C. and higher premiums better reflect their risks. But crashes caused by the learner before they get their licence won't be counted in their driving history.

Should the application be approved, changes would come into effect by September of 2019.

The corporation would consider at-fault crashes that happened over the past 10 years - up from three - to help determine a driver's premium.

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Mr. Eby said under the current model, a person could have up to three crashes in a single year and still pay the same basic premium as a driver who is crash-free.

Mr. Eby said under ICBC's proposal, less-experienced drivers - those who have been driving for less than 15 years - would see an increase in their premiums.

Drivers are already paying more if they live in dense, urban areas, which are more risky for crashes.

The BC Government has ordered ICBC to file an application with the BCUC by August 15, 2018.

"All the Attorney General has done today is lay blame at the foot of B.C. drivers, instead of overhauling the broken system that is ICBC", said Wilkinson in a news release.

Andrew Wilkinson, Leader of the Opposition BC Liberals, said in a written statement the NDP government is not addressing the major problems at ICBC.

The NDP countered with a news release saying the Liberals raided $1.2 billion from ICBC while they were in power in order to pad their own annual budgets.

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